Food occupies an enormous place in people’s lives. Good food, favorite dining spots, and exciting places for enjoying drinks and social activities rank among people’s top concerns. People like to share their experiences and see what other people are eating, how they dress, and where they’re dining.

Instagram takes advantage of smartphone technology to encourage members to share photos and short videos on social media sites.

Restaurants can use Instagram for multiple marketing benefits because people love to take pictures when dining, celebrating, or having a drink with friends. Restaurateurs can encourage customers to photograph food, décor, spectacular desserts, and dining parties for immediate, user-generated advertising that’s free, convincing, and spontaneous.

Top 9 Instagram Marketing Tips

Restaurants showcase their food, cuisine, décor, and staff through their own Instagram accounts. Creative ideas include posting photos of farms and food suppliers, celebrations, charitable events, and off-site affairs.

However, you can benefit from Instagram to attract more guests to your restaurant when you manage your account strategically. Here are some tips to master restaurant marketing on Instagram.

Chronicle All Aspects of the Restaurant’s Operations

Take photos of appetizers, entrées, desserts, dining-room ambiance, staff members, and behind-the-scenes operations. Show pictures of the staff serving customers, having fun, or preparing for big events. Post photos and short videos regularly to draw an audience and keep them returning. Write brief captions to ask for feedback or explain the photos.

Introduce New Foods or Signature Beverages

Instagram is an ideal platform for sharing quickly to introduce new tastes on the menu. Take photos of any new menu items or an amazing molecular beverage concoction from the bar to inspire regulars and newcomers to try the items.

Optimize Photo Quality

Instagram is a visual-based social media platform and users engage with posts with high-quality photos. Use a regular or phone camera to take photos instead of the Instagram app to get better quality. Benefits of using alternate cameras include using features like optical zoom. After taking the photos, use the Instagram app to access the file and take advantage of its versatile photo-editing tools.

You can also get professional help for restaurant photography to increase your conversion rates on Instagram. Once you start sharing inspiring and high-quality photos, your engagement will increase immediately.

Encourage Customers to Post Photos Taken at the Restaurant

You can consider promotional giveaways to encourage customers to post photos. Best photos could be displayed at the restaurant or in online advertising. Great photos might earn diners a free meal or discount. Sponsor an Instagram contest to get customers to take lots of photos and generate business. Award prizes for photo quality, creativity, artistic composition, or other criteria such as best-dressed diner or wackiest costume.

Another option is to post photos on digital signs or monitors, and technology allows restaurants to post these photos in real-time. Hashtag campaigns are a successful method to encourage the sharing of photos!

Share Photos on Other Sites

Sharing photos on the company website and other social media platforms attracts more people and increases the chances that a unique moment will go viral.

Instagram gives restaurants and customers many options for sharing on Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare, Twitter, and emails. A content strategy that covers various platforms will help you reach out to more potential guests.

Promote Restaurant Involvement with Festivals and Fairs

Be sure to take plenty of photos at special events, fairs, trade shows, and festivals. If the company has a booth, take photos and post them to let customers and curious Instagram users know where to find the stall.

Use photos to capture the live excitement at an event or even show on-site disasters like rain-outs or booth collapses. Off-site catered events are another opportunity to market the restaurant’s services, cakes and pastries, and signature foods.

Narrate a Story with Images

Storytelling is one of the most effective techniques in content marketing. Photos can report a story with minimal captioning. Follow the progress of a remodeling project, major catering event, natural disaster, or day-in-the-life of a busy restaurant. Use Instagram posts to tell people about the company’s history, charitable work, or special events.

In this way, you can also show your restaurant branding through your social media content. That's a great way to gain loyal customers.

Hashtag and Geo-tagging Strategies

Using hashtags and geo-tagging to help people find the restaurant’s posts by subject and location. Creating a unique hashtag involves generating a memorable name. Choose a short word or phrase that relates to the restaurant or cuisine and is easy to spell.

  • Publicize the company hashtag on the website, blog posts, advertising, stationery, and social media pages.
  • Send hashtag information to people in the restaurant’s loyalty program and those on email and newsletter lists.
  • Use the unique hashtag on all Instagram posts—for example, #UniqueHashtag.
  • Geo-tagging lets people know where users are located.
  • Restaurateurs can click on geo-tags to connect with Instagram users in their areas.

Instagram offers some astonishingly simple ways to market restaurants, cuisine, and events. People will re-post photos and videos that they like, so restaurant posts enjoy a larger marketing reach. Encouraging Instagram posts from customers keeps them loyal, engaged, and actively promoting the restaurant.

Instagram Stories & Instagram Live

Utilize the feature of Stories (that are common among most social media platforms) to stay current. Posting a story allows you to have a photo, video, or gif present at the top of users’ feeds for 24. You can tag, geo-tag, and write on these stories, making them relevant and useful for cross-promotion. You will also be able to see how many users, and who saw your story.

Key takeaways

Instagram Live is a great way to showcase a new dish, drink, or space. Followers will be alerted that you’ve started a Live video at any point in their feed, calling attention that your account is active and showing something exciting off! You will be able to see who is viewing your Live video and engage with fans right then and there.

In a nutshell, what you can do on Instagram for your restaurant are:

  • Using the platform to showcase your restaurant,
  • Boosting engagement through user-generated content,
  • Telling the story of your brand,
  • Reaching out to more potential guests through features like hashtags and geo-tagging strategies.

You can contact us to learn more about how to master Instagram management for restaurants.